Fast Facts

  • While still in her early teens, she was discovered by Mahalia Jackson and was invited to join the legendary gospel singer's touring choir for the summer.
  • In college, she started a women's gospel group called the Meditation Singers; she cut back on performing with the group after leaving school to help support her family following her mother's death.
  • Signed with Jubilee Records after relocating to New York in 1953 and scored a hit with the 1957 single "And That Reminds Me," which led to regular appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.
  • Became the first black woman to host her own talk show when Della premiered in 1969; it aired for one season.
  • During a 1979 performance on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, she suffered a brain aneurysm and was thought to be near death.
  • An ordained minister, she started her own church, called Understanding Principles for Better Living Church.
  • Became close friends with Roma Downey, her costar on the CBS drama series Touched By An Angel, and officiated at Downey's 2007 wedding ceremony to TV reality producer Mark Burnett.

Awards

  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1996, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1997, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee

Relationships

  • Vermont Taliaferro — Ex-husband
  • Franklin Lett — Husband
  • James Barger — Son
  • Nellie Early — Mother
  • Richard Early — Father
  • Franklin Lett III — Son
  • Deloreese Daniels Owens — Daughter
  • Dominique Lett — Daughter

College

  • Attended Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

Details

  • Birth Name: Deloreese Patricia Early
  • Birth Place: Detroit, MI
  • Birthday: July 6, 1931, Cancer
  • Profession: Actor, Singer
  • User Rating:4.42 out of 5 (19 ratings)
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